Cotton is mine and many others preferred textile of choice for clothing. It is a soft, breathable, durable, absorbent fabric and is perfect for the plus size body. I never considered how important the growth and production of cotton is to our economy and the effect it has on our environment.
Cotton is a global provider being harvested in over one hundred countries by millions of farmers. The problem comes not in the growth of these fertile plants but in the chemicals (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides etc.) used to make them grow faster, produce more and be resilient against bugs and weather. Cotton is one of the highest pesticide spraying crops. As a billion dollar industry, cotton has become another polluter to our environment and some say the chemicals even affect our health.
Many things besides clothing are made from the cotton plant: Terrycloth, denim, socks, underwear, t-shirts, bed sheets, fishnets, coffee filters, tents, book bindings, paper, cellulose and apparently the US dollar bill. So you can see how easy it is to take cotton for granted.
Of all the cotton grown, only a minute amount of it is grown organically. To be organically grown means it doesn't use the usual toxic chemicals and fertilizers to cultivate it. Not only is organic cotton good for skin allergies it's incredibly soft. Because organically grown cotton is a young industry the clothing produced from it is somewhat more expensive. It's also difficult to find. But it is becoming more accessible.
Organically grown cotton is not our only eco clothing source. Other options include linen, hemp, bamboo, tencel, silk, and wool.
What is Linen?
Linen is a woven fabric made from the flax plant. It is more difficult to make and more expensive than cotton to produce but it has a tendency to last longer. It has been around for centuries and just keeps getting better.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is made from the commercially grown cannabis plant. Like linen is makes a durable and breathable fabric for clothing and most of it is machine washable. With increased use its popularity has resulted in better production producing a fine and comfortable fabric.
What is Bamboo?
Bamboo is a self regenerating woody evergreen plant. This is a unique plant that can grow both in hot and cold climates. Bamboo has been used to make furniture and paper for centuries; its use for clothing has been a fairly new development and amazingly successful. Bamboo doesn't look like a different fiber and shows well with other fabrics.
What is Tencel?
According to the Tencel site it is "fine as silk, as strong as polyester, as easy to care for as acrylic, cool and pleasant like linen, as warm as wool and absorbs more moisture than cotton". Tencel is made from wood pulp cellulose. The company that makes it was awarded the European ECO Award for its environmentally friendly production.
Keep an eye out for these eco friendly fabrics where you normally shop or better yet, ask your favourite stores to bring in some eco friendly fashions, like bamboo or hemp tops and organic cotton bottoms. The likelihood companies will be inclined to offer it increases the more we ask for it.
Every little bit helps.
Looking for Plus Size Eco Fashions online? See related links below.
* Visit the forum to let us know where you buy your eco fashions.